Ant Financial, the Chinese Alibaba-affiliated online payments service provider, has gotten backing from the Chinese government via private placement with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
As reported by Forbes on Friday (July 3), the NSSF, alongside fellow investors that include several of China’s largest insurance companies, invested an “undisclosed amount” in a deal which led to the social security fund now having a 5 percent stake in Ant. The deal values the company at more than $50 billion, Forbes reported.
The financing follows last month’s news that Ant was granted permission by the government to start operating its Internet bank, known as Mybank. That entity will look to issue loans of less than 5 million yuan to small businesses and also to individual consumers. The company, which runs Alipay payments platform, along with the wealth management service known as Yu’E Bao, has more than 400 million active users, according to the firm, with another 17 million users overseas.
Forbes noted on Friday that that the company is also exploring the possibility of offering credit scoring, using online payment histories as one scoring metric among several. Ant Financial has said that Sesame Credit, which debuted in January of this year, will look to boost its service offerings across a range of clients, including banks and enterprises.
The company said at the time of the January launch of Sesame Credit that the service represented the first credit scoring system to utilize both online and offline data to compute credit scores. The data is informed, at least in part, by Alibaba, wherein Sesame Credit can collect data from the former’s network of more than 300 million users and 37 million small businesses registered to the Alibaba online marketplaces. Those marketplaces include sites such as Taobao Marketplace and Tmall.com.